Canto 24 Summary

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Last Updated March 1, 2023.

The poets continue along, and Dante is relieved when Virgil’s frustration slowly subsides, allowing them to slip back into comfortable conversation. As they plod on, Dante experiences insecurity and restlessness, but Virgil remains supportive, offering guidance and counsel. 

The two gaze down into the pit below and, for once, cannot discern the further layers; all that lies ahead is darkness and abyss. Dante suggests they descend further to gain a better view. As they do, they reach the Seventh Bolgia, where terrifying serpentine forms slither amongst naked shades who recoil at their touch. The snakes coil around the bodies of the shades condemned here, binding their hands and wriggling across their disgusted bodies. As the sinners attempt to run from the snakes, one is bitten; the snake’s bite turns him to ash before the pilgrims’ eyes. They watch, astonished, as the man’s ashes revert to their original forms, and the reconstituted man approaches them.

Still stunned by the sight, Dante and Virgil listen as the man recounts his experiences. As he speaks, another sinner breaks away from the mob to speak to the travelers and introduces himself as Vanni Fucci from Pistoia. He is embarrassed at being caught in this place and confesses the nature of his sin: theft. Fucci prophesies that the political power in Pistoia will shift away from the Blacks, and a new party will take control of both Florence and Pistoia. He adds that there will be a social disturbance that will result in a devastating attack on the Whites. Foretelling this chaos, he says, entertains him, and he admits that he shares it with Dante to cause him distress.

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Canto 23 Summary

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Canto 25 Summary